British Columbia Gives Hot Water a Solar Boost

The government of Canada is investing $400,000 in the Solar Hot Water Heating program through the ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat initiative.

The Honorable Lisa Raitt, minister of Natural Resources, and Ron Cannan, member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, announced the investment and launched the program recently.

"This investment will generate new economic activity in the Okanagan and the Kootenays, while reducing energy costs and harmful emissions," said Cannan. "This new solar program will encourage homeowners to consider green energy technology and help stimulate the economy."

The Solar Hot Water Heating Program being delivered by FortisBC will provide a significant boost to the growing clean energy industry in British Columbia. It provides $1,000 rebates to help new home developers in the Okanagan and the Kootenays to install solar hot water heating systems. It also provides a $300 rebate for existing homeowners to install a solar hot water heating system. Solar hot water heating systems are also eligible for the ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes Grant and are eligible under the Home Renovation Tax Credit.

"We are pleased to work in partnership with Natural Resources Canada to promote alternative energy sources and provide our customers with incentives for either new homes or renovations to their existing homes," said Michael Mulcahy, FortisBC's vice president of Customer and Corporate Services.

A solar water heating system can supply up to 60 percent of a Canadian home's hot water needs, cut energy and water heating costs, and reduce each household's annual greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne.

The $36-million ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat initiative is one of a series of ecoENERGY initiatives funded by the government of Canada with an investment of more than $3.6 billion to increase Canada's supply of clean, renewable energy and to improve energy efficiency.

An additional $2.4 billion is provided by Canada's Economic Action Plan to support a cleaner and more sustainable environment and help meet Canada's climate change objectives. This funding includes a new, five-year, $1-billion Clean Energy Fund and a $1-billion Green Infrastructure Fund.